sanctum -(SilverCity/Uni 4) This 3-D action-thriller follows a crew of cave divers as their efforts to trace an underwater river soon turns into a desperate struggle to survive against every nasty trick that nature can throw at them. Starts Fri.
the roommate -(SilverCity) Looking very much like Single White Female for dummies, this thriller features a girl who trots happily off to college — only to end up with a possessive roommate who is dangerously psychotic. Starts Fri.
★★★½ barney’s version -(Odeon/Uni 4) Mordecai Richler’s last novel comes to the screen, starring Paul Giamatti as a curmudgeonly rascal of a romantic who struggles mightily with the vicissitudes of life and love — and his own outsize flaws. Co-starring Dustin Hoffman.
★★★★ black swan -(Odeon/SilverCity) Get ready for some brilliant and disturbing ballet noir from arty director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, The Wrestler) in an intense psychological thriller about two gorgeous dance rivals, played by Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.
★★★★ blue valentine -(Odeon) The extremely talented Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson, Fracture) and Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) are the protagonists in a frank, emotionally raw and hard-hitting drama that shuttles back and forth in time to explain the breakup of a marriage. See review.
the dilemma -(Caprice) Ron Howard directs Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder in a comedy-drama about a guy who doesn’t know how to tell his best friend (and business partner) that his wife may be having an affair. Note: moves here from SilverCity on Friday.
★★★½ the fighter -(Odeon/Uni 4) Nothing says Christmas quite like a boxing drama, as Mark Wahlberg stars in this well acted and wonderfully entertaining biopic about “Irish” Micky Ward, a blue collar boxer who overcame lots of personal challenges to get his shot at pugilistic fame. Co-starring Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Note: opens at the Odeon on Friday.
★★ the green hornet -(SilverCity) Seth Rogen (Knocked Up) is the unlikely star of this would-be quirky deconstruction of superhero movies. A few scenes are clever, but mostly it just gets louder and stupider. Directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).
★★★★ the king’s SPEECH -(Odeon/SilverCity/Uni 4/Caprice) I’m sure Colin Firth won’t have any trouble delivering his Oscar acceptance speech — one of many Oscars that will likely accrue to this historical drama about King George VI and his struggle to overcome a crippling stammer and lead his country into war against Germany. A fascinating story and exceptional performances make this a must-see. With fellow nominees Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.
★★½ the mechanic -(Capitol/SilverCity) Brit badboy Jason Statham (The Transporter) is an assassin teaching his lethal job skills to an apprenctice, in a hyper-violent actioner based on the 1972 Charles Bronson flick.
★★ no strings attached -(Capitol/SilverCity/Caprice) Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher bring a little charm to an otherwise flabby and lacklustre rom-com about a couple who plan on keeping their relationship strictly physical but end up wanting something more. Directed by Ivan Reitman.
★★★★ 127 hours -(Odeon) Oscar-nominated James Franco stars in this true-life outdoor adventure about a canyoneer who becomes trapped and has to take appalling measures in order to survive. This life-affirming drama is directed with exhilarating style by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later).
★★ the rite -(Capitol/SilverCity) Although “suggested by real events,” the most notable thing about this religio-horror film involving religious doubt and demonic possession is the painfully dull script. Not even the presence of Anthony Hopkins seemingly haunted by the ghost of a hammy Richard Burton can redeem this turkey.
★★★½ tangled -(Capitol/Caprice) Here’s a fractured fairy tale telling a different, more rambunctious version of the classic Rapunzel story, complete with nifty characters and some gorgeous 3-D effects. With the voices of Mandy Moore and Ron Perlman. Note: opens at the Caprice on Friday.
★★½ tron: legacy -(SilverCity) The original TRON was a visionary sci-fi classic that never got the box office it deserved. Twenty years later we return to the inner world of a video game, with mixed results: the visuals are killer, but the plot is a mix of muddle and pretension.
★★★★ TRUE GRIT -(Odeon/SilverCity) Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin and Matt Damon star in the Coen Brothers remake of the famed revenge western that originally starred a grizzled John Wayne as aging U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn. Dark and mythic, this is a classic western and classic Coen Brothers (who are gunning for several more Oscars).
★★★½ ARABIA -(11am, 3:00, 6:00) The past and the present merge in this exploration of the rich history and present-day exoticism and complexity of Saudi Arabia.
★★½ harry potter and the deathly hallows, Part 1 -(7:00) After a great start, the latest installment of the Potter franchise bogs down with a dull quest and lots of squabbling between Harry, Ron and Hermione.
★★★ horses: the story of equus -(10am, 1:00, 4:00) The lives of three very different horses are portrayed in this charming film that will appeal to all eque-files.
★★★ legends of flight -(11am, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00) The creation of the “next generation” commercial jetliner is detailed in this fascinating documentary.
Movie Monday – Screening Damage Done: The Drug War Odyssey. Here’s a documentary that should inspire lots of discussion — it portrays the complete change of heart experienced by some who were rabid participants in the war on drugs but have since come to believe that it is a futile, ass-backwards approach to what’s really a health and social problem. 6:30pm MONDAY in the 1900-block Fort. By donation. 595-FLIC. moviemonday.ca
Michael MccLure – Renowned Beat Era poet presents a screening of two films including Abstract Alchemist of the Flesh, a documentary on his ideas and philosophy, and a lost and recently discovered cultural tour of Haight-Ashbury in its heyday. 7:30pm TUESDAY at Merlin’s Sun Theatre (1983 Fairfield). $15 advance at 250-385-3378 or ekstasiseditions.com
Awareness Film Night – Screening Occupation Has No Future. In the fall of 2009, a group of U.S. veterans and war resisters travelled to Israel/Palestine to meet witrh their Israeli counterparts. This film uses that trip as a lens to study Israeli militarism, examine the occupation and explore the work of those Israelis and Palestinians who are working to live together free of occupation. Followed by speaker Kevin Neish. 7 p.m. WEDNESDAY at the Edward Milne Community School theatre, 6218 Sooke Rd. in Sooke. By donation.
countdown to zero -(Wed.-Thurs., Feb. 2-3: 7:10, 9:00) Even the terminally blasé may be rattled by this documentary about the various forms of nuclear peril, whether it’s the number of times a nuclear conflagration was imminent due to superpower misunderstandings or the ease with which weapons-grade uranium can be purchased on the black market.
★★½ due date -(Fri.-Sat., Feb. 4-5: 3:00, 7:15) A high-strung dad-to-be (Robert Downey) who is desperate to arrive in time for the birth of his child hitches a ride with a weird wanna-be actor (Zach Galfianakis, Hangover), in an odd-couple road trip that tries too hard but still delivers some amusingly vulgar fun.
★★★½ megamind -(Sat.-Sun., Feb. 5-6: 1:00 matinee) his hipster spoof of superhero movies is a witty and inventive piece of animation that is great for kids and parents alike. Tina Fey is fab voicing a cynical Lois Lane-style reporter, but it’s Will Ferrell who steals the show as a conflicted supervillain.
vision -(Sun., Feb. 6: 3:00, 7:00 & Mon., Feb. 7: 7:00 only) Famed German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta directed this portrait of Hildegard von Bingen, the renowned 12th century nun who was a brilliant composer, playwright, and scientific pioneer.
★★★★ stop making sense -(Tues., Feb. 8: 7:10, 9:00) Directed by Jonathan Demme, this 1984 documentary of new wave superstars The Talking Heads in concert is one of the greatest “rock-docs” of all time.
★★★½ the concert -(Wed.-Thurs., Feb. 9-10: 7:00, 9:20) This French-Russian co-production mixes pathos and farce as it portrays a music conductor, long-blacklisted by Brezhnev, who scams his way to perform in Paris with a motley crew of washed-up musicians. For fans of heartfelt comedy and/or classical music, don’t miss this one! See review.